Sunday, 11 December 2011


A conjunction is a word that connects other words or groups of words.  In the sentence Bob and Dan are friends the conjunction and connects two nouns and in the sentence  He will drive or fly,  the conjunction or connects two verbs.  In the sentence It is early but we can go, the conjunction but connects two groups of words.
Coordinating conjunctions are conjunctions which connect two equal parts of a sentence.  The most common ones are and, or, but, and so which are used in the following ways:
and is used to join or add words together in the sentence They ate and drank.
or is used to show choice or possibilities as in the sentence He will be here on Monday or Tuesday.
but is used to show opposite or conflicting ideas as in the sentence She is small but strong.
so is used to show result as in the sentence I was tired so I went to sleep.
Subordinating conjunctions connect two parts of a sentence that are not equal and will be discussed more in another class.  For now, you should know some of the more common subordinating conjunctions such as:
    after                before                unless
    although          if                        until
    as                   since                   when
    because          than                    while
Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions that work together.  In the sentence Both Jan and Meg are good swimmers, both . . .and are correlative conjunctions.  The most common correlative conjunctions are:
    both . . .and
    either . . . or
    neither . . . nor
    not only . . . but also

Saturday, 10 December 2011


WH Question Words

We use question words to ask certain types of questions . We often refer to them as WH words because they include the letters WH (for example WHy, HoW).

After reading, you can try out a exercise at

Question WordFunctionExample
whatasking for information about somethingWhat is your name?
asking for repetition or confirmationWhat? I can't hear you.
You did what?
what...forasking for a reason, asking whyWhat did you do that for?
whenasking about timeWhen did he leave?
whereasking in or at what place or positionWhere do they live?
whichasking about choiceWhich colour do you want?
whoasking what or which person or people (subject)Who opened the door?
whomasking what or which person or people (object)Whom did you see?
whoseasking about ownershipWhose are these keys?
Whose turn is it?
whyasking for reason, asking what...forWhy do you say that?
why don'tmaking a suggestionWhy don't I help you?
howasking about mannerHow does this work?
asking about condition or qualityHow was your exam?
how + adj/advasking about extent or degreesee examples below
how fardistanceHow far is Pattaya from Bangkok?
how longlength (time or space)How long will it take?
how manyquantity (countable)How many cars are there?
how muchquantity (uncountable)How much money do you have?
how oldageHow old are you?
how come (informal)asking for reason, asking whyHow come I can't see her?

Friday, 9 December 2011


Adverbs of manner tell us how something happens. They are usually placed after the main verb or after the object.
  • He swims well, (after the main verb)
  • He ran... rapidly, slowly, quickly..
  • She spoke... softly, loudly, aggressively..
  • James coughed loudly to attract her attention.
  • He plays the flute beautifully. (after the object)
  • He ate the chocolate cake greedily.
BE CAREFUL! The adverb should not be put between the verb and the object:
  • He ate greedily the chocolate cake [incorrect]
  • He ate the chocolate cake greedily [correct]
If there is a preposition before the object, e.g. at, towards, we can place the adverb either before the preposition or after the object.
  • The child ran happily towards his mother.
  • The child ran towards his mother happily.
Sometimes an adverb of manner is placed before a verb + object to add emphasis:
  • He gently woke the sleeping woman.
Some writers put an adverb of manner at the beginning of the sentence to catch our attention and make us curious:
  • Slowly she picked up the knife.
(We want to know what happened slowly, who did it slowly, why they did it slowly)
However, adverbs should always come AFTER intransitive verbs (=verbs which have no object).
  • The town grew quickly
  • He waited patiently
Also, these common adverbs are almost always placed AFTER the verb:
  • well
  • badly
  • hard
  • fast
The position of the adverb is important when there is more than one verb in a sentence. If the adverb is placed after a clause, then it modifies the whole action described by the clause.
Notice the difference in meaning between the following pairs of sentences:
  • She quickly agreed to re-type the letter (= her agreement was quick)
  • She agreed to re-type the letter quickly (= the re-typing was quick)
  • He quietly asked me to leave the house (= his request was quiet)
  • He asked me to leave the house quietly (= the leaving was quiet)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


These adverbs express how certain or sure we feel about an action or event.
Common adverbs of certainty:
certainly, definitely, probably, undoubtedly, surely
Adverbs of certainty go before the main verb but after the verb 'to be':
  • He definitely left the house this morning.
  • He is probably in the park.
With other auxiliary verb, these adverbs go between the auxiliary and the main verb:
  • He has certainly forgotten the meeting.
  • He will probably remember tomorrow.
Sometimes these adverbs can be placed at the beginning of the sentence:
  • Undoubtedly, Winston Churchill was a great politician.
BE CAREFUL! with surely. When it is placed at the beginning of the sentence, it means the speaker thinks something is true, but is looking for confirmation:
  • Surely you've got a bicycle?



We use AT with specific times (hour / minutes).
  • I get up at 7 o'clock.
  • My English classes starts at 10am.
  • She finishes work at 6.15
  • I left the party at midnight.
Midnight (and midday) is a specific hour which is why we use AT.
12am = midnight --- 12pm = midday / noon


We use ON for specific days and dates.
  • I will return it to you on Wednesday.
  • They got married on Friday the 13th.
  • We get paid on the 20th of every month.
  • I drank too much on New Year's eve.
Remember that for dates, we use ordinal numbers.
E.g. the First of September (not the one of September)


We use IN for specific months, years and seasons.
  • My birthday is in January. (I don't mention the date, just the month)
  • My grandmother was born in 1927.
  • The river near my house is dry in Summer.
The New Zealand National day is in February. (I don't mention the day - only the month)
The New Zealand National day is on February 6th. (I mention the day - the order is not important)



Specific times I start work at 9 o'clock.

Festivals in general I'm going to Brazil at Christmas.

Night I find it difficult to sleep at night.

Specific days I'd like to go to the cinema on Saturday.

Parts of the day I go to the gym in the morning.

Months I normally go on holiday in February.

Seasons We can go skiing in winter.

Years I was born in 1972.

A time period The train leaves in 5 minutes.
Remember! We do not use at, on, in or the with the following expressions:
Today, tomorrow, yesterday, this morning, tonight, last, next, every.

Friday, 2 December 2011


1. Form - see Simple Present section.
2. Simple present for future events - function
The simple present is used to make statements about events at atime later than now, when the statements are based onpresent facts, and when these facts are something fixed like atime-table, schedule, calendar.
a. The plane arrives at 18.00 tomorrow.
b. She has a yoga class tomorrow morning.
c. The restaurant opens at 19.30 tonight.
d. Next Thursday at 14.00 there is an English exam.
Note the difference between:
a. The plane leaves in ten minutes (= statement of fact)
b. The plane's going to leave in ten minutes (= prediction based on present situation, meaning "...and if you don't hurry up you're going to miss it!")

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Simple Present tense

Simple present, third person singular
  1. he, she, it: in the third person singular the verb always ends in -s:
    he wants, she needs, he gives, she thinks.
  2. Negative and question forms use DOES (=the third person of the auxiliary'DO') the infinitive of the verb.
    He wantsDoes he want? He does not want.
  3. Verbs ending in -y : the third person changes the -y to -ies:
    fly  flies, cry  cries
    : if there is a vowel before the -y:
    play  plays, pray  prays
  4. Add -es to verbs ending in:-ss, -x, -sh, -ch:
    he passes, she catches, he fixes, it pushes
See also Verbs -'Regular verbs in the simple present', and 'Be, do & have'


1. Third person singular with s or -es
a. He goes to school every morning.
b. She understands English.
c. It mixes the sand and the water.
d. He tries very hard.
e. She enjoys playing the piano.
2. Simple present, form
Example: to think, present simple
I thinkDo I think ?I do not think.
You thinkDo you think?You don't think.
he, she, itthinksDoes he, she, it think?He, she, it doesn't think.
we thinkDo we think?We don't think.
you thinkDo you think?You don't think.
The simple present is used:
  1. to express habits, general truths, repeated actions or unchanging situations, emotions and wishes:
    I smoke (habit); I work in London (unchanging situation); London is a large city (general truth)
  2. to give instructions or directions:
    You walk for two hundred metres, then you turn left.
  3. to express fixed arrangements, present or future:
    Your exam starts at 09.00
  4. to express future time, after some conjunctions: after, when, before, as soon as, until:
    He'll give it to you when you come next Saturday.
BE CAREFUL! The simple present is not used to express actions happening nowSee Present Continuous.
  1. For habitsHe drinks tea at breakfast.
    She only eats fish.
    They watch television regularly.
  2. For repeated actions or eventsWe catch the bus every morning.
    It rains every afternoon in the hot season.
    They drive to Monaco every summer.
  3. For general truths
    Water freezes at zero degrees.
    The Earth revolves around the Sun.
    Her mother is Peruvian.
  4. For instructions or directionsOpen the packet and pour the contents into hot water.
    You take the No.6 bus to Watney and then the No.10 to Bedford.
  5. For fixed arrangementsHis mother arrives tomorrow.
    Our holiday starts on the 26th March
  6. With future constructionsShe'll see you before she leaves.
    We'll give it to her when she arrives.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

simple past tense

BE CAREFUL! The simple past in English may look like a tense in your own language, but the meaning may be different.
1. Simple past, form
Regular verbsbase+ede.g. walked, showed, watched, played, smiled, stopped

Irregular verbs: see list in verbs

Simple past, be, have, do:
He, she, it
Affirmativea. I was in Japan last year
b. She had a headache yesterday.
c. We did our homework last night.

Negative and interrogativeNote: For the negative and interrogative simple past form of "do"as an ordinary verb, use the auxiliary "do", e.g. We didn't do our homework last night. The negative of "have" in the simple past is usually formed using the auxiliary "do", but sometimes by simply adding not or the contraction "n't".
The interrogative form of "have" in the simple past normally uses the auxiliary "do".

  • They weren't in Rio last summer.
  • We hadn't any money.
  • We didn't have time to visit the Eiffel Tower.
  • We didn't do our exercises this morning.
  • Were they in Iceland last January?
  • Did you have a bicycle when you were a boy?
  • Did you do much climbing in Switzerland?
Simple past, regular verbs
Subjectverb + ed
Subjectdid notinfinitive withoutto
Theydidn'tvisit ...
Didsubjectinfinitive withoutto
Interrogative negative
Did notsubjectinfinitive withoutto

Example: to walk, simple past.
I walkedI didn't walkDid I walk?
You walkedYou didn't walkDid you walk?
He,she,it walkedHe didn't walkDid he walk?
We walkedWe didn't walkDid we walk?
You walkedYou didn't walkDid you walk?
They walkedThey didn't walkDid they walk?
Note: For the negative and interrogative form of all verbs in the simple past, always use the auxiliary 'did''.
Examples: Simple past, irregular verbs
to go
a. He went to a club last night.
b. Did he go to the cinema last night?
c. He didn't go to bed early last night.

to gived. We gave her a doll for her birthday.
e. They didn't give John their new address.
f. Did Barry give you my passport?

to comeg. My parents came to visit me last July.
h. We didn't come because it was raining.
i. Did he come to your party last week?

2. Simple past, function
The simple past is used to talk about a completed action in a time before now. Duration is not important. The time of the action can be in the recent past or the distant past.
  • John Cabot sailed to America in 1498.
  • My father died last year.
  • He lived in Fiji in 1976.
  • We crossed the Channel yesterday.
You always use the simple past when you say when something happened, so it is associated with certain past time expressions
  • frequency:
    often, sometimes, always;
  • a definite point in time:
    last week, when I was a child, yesterday, six weeks ago.
  • an indefinite point in time:
    the other day, ages ago, a long time ago etc.
Note: the word ago is a useful way of expressing the distance into the past. It is placed after the period of time e.g. a week ago, three years ago, a minute ago.
a. Yesterday, I arrived in Geneva.
b. She finished her work at seven o'clock.
c. We saw a good film last week.
d. I went to the theatre last night.
e. She played the piano when she was a child.
f. He sent me a letter six months ago.
g. Peter left five minutes ago.


We always confuse when to use a little, when to use a few. Below are some tips for it.

The expressions a little and a few mean some.
  • If a noun is in singular, we use a little

    a little money

  • If a noun is in plural, we use a few

    a few friends

Countable / Uncountable Nouns

In connection with a little / a few people often speak of countable nouns and uncountable nouns.
Countable nouns have a singular and a plural form. In plural, these nouns can be used with a number (that's why they are called 'countable nouns'). Countable nouns take a few.
4 friends – a few friends
Uncountable nouns can only be used in singular. These nouns cannot be used with a number (that's why they are called 'uncountable nouns'). Uncountable nouns take a little.
3 money – a little money
Note: Of course you can count money – but then you would name the currency and say that you have got 3 euro (but not „3 money“).

A Little / A few or Little / Few

It's a difference if you use a little / a few or little / few. Without the article, the words have a limiting or negative meaning.
  • a little = some
    little = hardly any

    I need a little money. - I need some money.
    I need little money. - I need hardly any money.

  • a few = some
    few = hardly any

    A few friends visited me. - Some friends visited me.
    Few friends visited me. - Hardly any friends visited me.

Without the article, little / few sound rather formal. That's why we don't use them very often in everyday English. A negative sentence with much / many is more common here.
I need little money. = I do not need much money.
Few friends visited me. = Not many friends visited me.

Exersice on A little or a few

After study the note,lets us do some exercise on it.